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One Lovely Blog Award!

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 7.25.46 AMThank you so much to Merryn at http://www.humbleheartscribbles.wordpress.com for giving me the One Lovely Blog Award!  I feel so blessed and honored that someone would consider my blog to be “lovely” and give me this award.  Thanks, Merryn!  You should go check out Merryn’s blog.  It is truly lovely and you will be blessed when you read it!

In accepting this award, there are a few rules to follow:

Rules (One Lovely Blog Award):

1.  Thank the person who has nominated you.  Provide a link to his/her blog.

2.  List the rules and display the award image.

3.  Include 7 facts about yourself.

4.  Nominate 15 other bloggers and let them know that they have been nominated.  This is a way to introduce others to bloggers that you love.

5.  Display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you.

 

Seven things about me:

1.  I wrote an article that Children’s Ministry Magazine published in their May/June 2014 issue.  It was super fun to see a story that I wrote in my favorite magazine!

2.  I like to learn and read – and share what I learn and read, which is maybe how I ended up in teaching and speaking because I wasn’t looking to speak in front of large groups of people.  Who knew that could be so much fun?!

3.  I like to bake, walk outside, listen to Christian music, scrapbook, study the Bible, write and teach Bible lessons, travel and spend time with my family.  One of my most recent adventures was climbing up a waterfall with my husband in Jamaica.  I thought we would be climbing up BESIDE the waterfall, but no, we climbed up THROUGH the waterfall, which was way more fun anyway!

4.  This is my tenth year volunteering with the Good News Club that I lead and teach.  It’s pretty amazing how many kids we can fit into our room at our school!

5.  I like to plan parties.  When my kids were little it was so much fun to plan birthday parties and have their friends over to our home for a lot of fun.  (Think back several years.  Did your daughter receive in the mail a small homemade purple soft fabric sleeping bag with a birthday sleepover invitation tucked inside?  That was from us.  Or did your son go home and tell you about how amazing our Pizza Planet basement was during a Buzz Lightyear birthday party?  Yep, us too.  And all of that was before Pinterest!)  Now I get to plan and give bridal showers and baby showers.  So fun!  (Check back soon for some pictures of the baby shower that I just hosted and also a post about the devotion that I wrote for it!)

6.  I’m a girly girl.  I’m not sure how many different shades of pink nail polish I have, but I like them all.

7.  I’m glad that I only have to write seven things about me because that’s about all that I can think of!  Oh, wait!  I wrote a children’s book.  How could I forget that?  It’s “Papa’s Plan for Buddy Bee” and your kids will love it!  Nebraska Life Magazine wrote an article about it as well as our city’s newspaper – without even telling me, which was a very fun surprise!

 

Here are my 15 nominations, in no particular order.  They are all lovely!

1.  www.lostwithouthim.org

2.  www.poolsofblessing.com

3.  www.AngelaDMeyer.com

4.  www.craigmotor.wordpress.com

5.  www.angelamgarcia.com

6.  www.juliegarro.com

7.  www.mamasongs.wordpress.com

8.  www.secretangelps911.wordpress.com

9.  www.aprilhawk.wordpress.com

10.  www.triciajots4jesus.wordpress.com

11.  www.missionitalia.com

12.  www.thejordanvalley.com

13.  www.theclearparent.com

14.  www.journeytotheson.wordpress.com

15.  www.blessedroute.com

 

Thanks again to Merryn for giving me the “One Lovely Blog Award.”  Many blessings to you, Merryn!

 

Day Lily Lessons

IMG_5230Day lilies.  I see them all around in the summer time.  They are beautiful green bushes full of brightly colored flowers.  Do you know why they are called day lilies?  Because each flower lasts only one day.  It’s amazing.  Every day the day lily plant looks pretty much the same, yet the blooms from yesterday are no longer there and the blooms today will be gone tomorrow.  Which makes me think of several day lily lessons.

First, day lilies remind me of how well our Father in Heaven takes care of His children.  Just like the lilies bloom each day, every day God gives us what we need.  Maybe we don’t even notice it, like we may not notice the new blooms on the day lily plants or realize that yesterday’s blooms are gone and it still looks nice.

Next, as I look at just one day lily I think of how perfectly God made each individual lily on that day lily plant.  He knew that each bloom was to last for only one day.  But He still made it beautiful.  Knowing the short length of time that it would bloom, He still gave it His best work.  I think that if I were to make something that would only last one day and maybe no one would ever see it or that one day it would just pour down rain on it, I wouldn’t give it my best.  Fortunately that’s not how God thinks.  His thoughts are higher than our thoughts.  And He doesn’t cut corners.  Which makes me realize that we, too, should give whatever we do our best.  We should do our work – whatever that is – as for the Lord and not for men.  And while we do that, we can think of the bright, beautiful day lily.

And one last lesson.  Just look at that day lily flower.  It’s beautiful!  And so are you!  God created the day lily and made it beautiful, even to only last for one day.  God created you, too, but you were made to know Him and be with Him forever.  Imagine how beautiful YOU are to Him!

When you see day lilies this summer, what will you think about?

In A Storm

stormonwaterDon’t you love the true story in the Bible about Peter walking on the water?  I mean, who else has walked on water before?  Well, one time a child walked on our pool cover so that was kind of walking on water I guess, but that doesn’t really count.  The cover kept him on the water and his feet didn’t get wet.  But Peter really walked on water – as long as he kept his focus on Jesus and not on the storm that was surrounding him at the time.  Oh, that storm.  That’s the part that I’m thinking about today.

So often we read that portion of Scripture, knowing what is about to happen, and miss the beginning.  Mark 6:45-46 says, “And immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the multitude away.  And after bidding them farewell, He departed to the mountain to pray” (NASB).

Jesus had just fed the 5,000 and now He sends His disciples into a boat while He stays on the land to pray.  And then something happens.  A storm.  A BIG storm.  Many of those men in that boat were fishermen.  They had been in storms before, but this time they were scared.  Really scared.

Which makes me think.  Jesus knows everything.  He knew there would be a storm, but He sent His disciples there anyway.  They were right where they were supposed to be.  In the storm.  But Jesus wasn’t far away.  He was right where He could see them and He came to them.  Okay, He came to them in a way that frightened them even more, but He was there with them.

Sometimes we are in storms just like those disciples.  We are right where we’re supposed to be, but we’re still in a storm.  So what do we do then?  We can remember that God is also with us, just like He was with the disciples.  We can think about what we know is true about God.  We know that God is always good.  He is faithful.  He loves us.  You can make your own list.  And then thank Him for those things that you know are true about Him.

I’m sure that as the waves pounded on that boat and the lightening crashed loudly around them the disciples were not thinking, “Wow, this is a really bad situation.  God is good at making good things come out of really bad situations.”  No.  They were terrified.  But God did come and make something good come out of that really bad situation.  He came and calmed the storm.  And we get to read about that amazing time when Peter walked on the water.

Jesus proved that He is good.  He is with us all the time.  He is faithful.  And He loves us.  Even in a storm.

I like the new song by David Crowder, “I Am,” where he sings about God holding onto us, “In the middle of the storm I am holding onto you.”  Here it is:

IMG_4917It’s that time again.  Time to thank my Good News Club Team for all of their hard work and dedication to our club this year.  So, what do you give a group of teenagers?  As I wandered through the store I came up with a fun idea using something that everyone likes.  Candy!

I decided to give my teen volunteers a bag of candy with a fun message to let them know that they made a difference in the lives of our kids at club and that I appreciate them.  Here is my message for them:

Thanks for making a difference in the lives of so many kids this year! You made our club more fun than REESE’S as you shared many TREASURES from God’s Word.  You taught and interacted with the children like a STARBURST and not like BUTTERFINGERS.  So it was ALMOND JOY to have you on my Good News Club Team.  You are worth more than 100 GRAND and you deserve a big PAYDAY, but all I can give you is this bag of candy.  I appreciate you!

But why let the fun stop there?  One of our kids at club memorized every single Bible verse.  Since we meet every week during the school year and we have a new verse each week, that’s a lot of Bible verses!  So that child gets a candy surprise, too!  Here’s the message for that child:

Congratulations, (child’s name)!  You know that learning God’s Word is worth more than 100 GRAND and more fun than REESE’S because you memorized every Bible verse at Good News Club this year!  Now you have stored up TREASURES from God in your heart, which will give you (ALMOND) JOY as you remember God’s Word when you need it.  You are a Bible verse-learning STARBURST and you deserve a big PAYDAY for your hard work!  Good job, Mrs. Lori

So, do you need some inspiration today?  Maybe all you need is to take a walk through the candy aisle!

And to all of my fellow volunteers in ministry:  You’re making a difference, too, even if I can’t give you candy!

 

 

 

One Tall Tulip

IMG_4964Spring is here!  What a joy it is to finally see colorful flowers quietly appearing after a long, cold winter with the ground covered in only white snow or brown grass.

One of my favorite things about spring is my tulips.  It was so fun the other day to drive up my driveway and notice green tulip leaves poking up through the mulch-covered ground around my tree.  Each day after that I watched them, anticipating bright-colored tulips growing out of those leaves.  And then there was one!  I waited for more, but there would be no more tulips.  Only one. One tall tulip.  The leaves are there for several others, but it seems that the rabbits ate those other tulips.  Only one tulip stands safe and strong.

If I had thought of it earlier I would have sprinkled blood meal on the leaves to keep the rabbits away.  I have done that to protect them in the past, but this year I completely forgot about those rabbits.  Oh, I saw them running and playing in my backyard, but I forgot that they like to eat tulips.  I forgot that I was in a battle with the rabbits.  So while I had just what I needed to protect my tulips against the rabbits, I didn’t use it.  I left it right there in my garage.  And now I have one tulip.  It’s a beautiful tulip, though.  Bright yellow.  Tall.  Petals joyously and victoriously wide open to the sky.  As if somehow it knows that it’s the only tulip that survived those hungry rabbits.

My rabbit and tulip situation is a good reminder that we are in a battle, whether we know it or not.  And we can get so busy doing all of our wonderful things, but forget about spending time in God’s Word.  And then we forget about the enemy that wants us to get so busy and forget about spending time in God’s Word.  Our enemy is like those rabbits hanging out in our backyards just waiting to eat our tulips when we’re not looking.  And we have what we need to keep our enemy away.  Maybe not blood meal, but we have God’s Word to protect us, but we have to use it.  We can’t just leave it in the garage – or on the table or in a drawer – and forget about it.

Ephesians 6:10-11 says, “Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.  Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil,” (NASB).  Verse 17 says, “And take up the Helmet of Salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

We need the full armor of God every day to stand firm in this world, which includes the sword of the Spirit – not just in our homes, but in our hearts and minds.  There’s a new song by Casting Crowns that talks about the enemy waiting for the night to fall.  It says, “And while you slumber, he’s gonna take it all…he knows you have the answers, but Truth lies dusty on your shelf and the sword that you could slay him with has become an ornament and nothing else,” (Waiting on the Night To Fall).  Has your Bible been forgotten?  Has it become a dusty ornament on your shelf?  Is that blood meal sitting in the garage while the rabbits are happily devouring your tulips?

Let’s take up our sword – the Word of God – and stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  We can win the battle with the rabbits in our yards.

You could be like that one joyful, victorious tall tulip with it’s bright yellow petals reaching toward the sky!

No matter what’s going on around you, you can stand – like my one tall tulip.

Here’s “Waiting on the Night to Fall” by Casting Crowns:

 

 

EmptyTombPic“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.  They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.  In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen!” (Luke 24:1-6 NIV).

Happy Easter, Everyone!

 

 

IMG_4920It’s here!  The “Children’s Ministry Magazine” May/June 2014 issue.  The one with my article in it!  They said that they were going to publish it.  And they did!  I have enjoyed reading this magazine for several years, but this one is extra fun!

shoesI’m excited about the opportunity to speak at a dinner for writers soon.  In preparation of that I was asked a question about a post on my blog.  You know the post, or posts.  The subject that keeps coming up again and again – my brown shoes.

Since I have posted different times about my brown shoes I was asked where I was going with those shoes.  It made me laugh at first because I have been going to many places with those shoes – to the grocery store, to the airport, to different places to teach, to restaurants for lunch with friends and even to the ladies’ Bible study that I’ve been leading in my home.  I know that going to literal places is not what they meant by that question of where am I going, but in a way it is.  And it’s a good question.

You remember the shoes.  Those brown, leather and oh-so-comfortable shoes that I can just slide my feet right into as I walk out the door.  My favorite shoes.  And you remember that when my first pair of those favorite brown shoes looked worn I went to the store and was able to replace them with a new pair of the same shoes.  Oh, that was a happy day!  But over time that second pair of brown shoes began to look just like my first pair and, oh, that was a sad day when I realized that they were worn out, too.  But then I discovered brown shoe polish.  I polished my shoes and they looked like new again.  I can’t even begin to explain to you the excitement in my heart over my newly polished shoes.  I could wear them everywhere without being ashamed of how worn my favorite comfy shoes looked.  As I wore my shoes, I could polish them over and over again to keep them looking nice.  But that much work only lasts for so long.

So what did I do?  I kept one pair nicely polished and stored away in its box for times when I needed to wear shoes that looked fresh, clean and perfectly polished.  And the rest of the time I just walked right out of the house wearing my favorite brown leather comfy, well-worn shoes.  As I think about that now I realize that while maybe we don’t all have favorite shoes or even two pairs of the same favorite shoes so we can keep one pair in a box for special times, we do wear different faces depending on where we are going.  Sometimes we can just be ourselves in our comfy well-worn shoes like when we shop at our local grocery store or meet friends for lunch, but at other times we don’t let others know we have those well-worn shoes and we put on our nice shoes, as if we have everything all together.

Over the last few months I have been leading a ladies’ Bible study in my home about marriage, which has been a lot of fun.  I so enjoy spending time with other ladies who love God and also their husbands!  As I shared some of my own mistakes from my early years of marriage we laughed and learned together.  It was like I put on my well-worn shoes and let everyone see them.  Well, actually, most of the days I’m pretty sure that I was wearing my actual well-worn shoes.  But what happened was that the other ladies saw that I don’t always have it all together.  And that it’s okay to learn and grow each day.  And while I wore those worn-out shoes something happened.  The ladies quickly felt comfortable to share about their own struggles and victories as the room became a safe place to put on our well-worn shoes together and just be real.  Because of that we were able to surround each other with prayer and support each other.  Don’t you love wearing your well-worn shoes with good friends?  The whole series was such a special Bible study time together.  Because I wore my favorite brown leather worn-out shoes.

There are times to put on my nicely polished shoes, though.  Like when I go out with my husband or speak somewhere.  I wore them recently to a fundraising banquet for a ministry that I volunteer with.  It is important to look our best!  However, sometimes we choose to look our best, like maybe on Sunday mornings, when really we just need to put on our worn-out shoes, be real and allow someone to see that we don’t have it all together.

First Peter 5:5 says, “…clothe yourselves with humility toward one another because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble,'” (NIV).

I guess I clothed myself with humility as I put on my worn-out shoes and shared with my Bible study friends.  It has been so neat to watch God work in our lives as we have shared with each other.  So I guess for now that is where I’m going with those shoes, which is wherever God leads me, whether it’s in a time to wear my nicely polished shoes or in a time to wear my worn-out shoes.

So here’s my question for you today:  What shoes will you wear?

Amazing Fish Story

fishing boat picHave you ever gone fishing?  How many fish did you catch?

I recently got to share Peter’s fish story with two different groups of kids and I wonder how it compares to your fish story.

Peter grew up learning how to fish from his dad.  He got to ride in the boat and learn how to put the nets into the water in the Sea of Galilee.  He learned the right place and the right time to catch fish.  And by the time he grew up he was a very good fisherman.

So one day while he was cleaning his nets someone stepped into his boat.  It was Jesus!  Jesus was there teaching people.  Only there were so many people that Jesus didn’t have a lot of space to teach from.  So He got into Peter’s boat and invited Peter take him out into the water a little ways to teach.

When Jesus was done teaching, the people left.  But not Jesus.  Jesus stayed in Peter’s boat and told Peter to do something that didn’t make any sense.  Jesus told Peter to go out to the deep water, put down his nets and then he would catch fish.  Would Peter do what Jesus said?  Peter had just been out that night – the time when you catch fish in the Sea of Galilee – and in the shallow water – the place where you catch fish – and not caught anything.  Besides that, his fishermen friends were right there.  What if they laughed at him?  What if they made fun of him for doing what Jesus said?  And why would Jesus want him to do that anyway?  It didn’t make any sense.

You have to like Peter.  He knew it was more important to do what Jesus said than to worry about why or what his friends would think.  So he did what Jesus told him to do.  He took that boat out to the deep water, let down his nets and waited.  And waited.  What would happen?

I’ll tell you what happened.  Peter caught so many fish that his nets began to break and he ended up filling his boat and his friends’ boat with fish!  Only God could have done that!  And everyone there was amazed by how many fish they caught.

There’s a lot in this story, but today I’m enjoying the reminder of how amazing our God is.  Everyone there that day knew it.  How about you?

Okay, so maybe you haven’t caught two boatloads of fish during your fishing trips, but I’m sure you’ve seen God do amazing things.

And what if you didn’t worry about what other people think about you – only God?  What if you didn’t worry about why God says what He says and just obeyed Him?  Or what if you just took time to notice the amazing things that God has done and is doing right now?

You may not have an amazing story about fishing to tell, but I bet you have an amazing story about God to tell.  Or maybe you’re like Peter in that boat before the miracle.  You’re obeying God and you feel like you’re sitting in that boat waiting to see what will happen next, wondering what God is doing and hoping that it will be good.  In time I think those nets will be full of fish, everyone around you will be amazed by what God has done and you will have an amazing story to tell!

Like Peter’s amazing fish story.

While We Wait

childwaitingAre you waiting for anything?  I’m waiting for something.  Something that’s going to make me wait again.  And I don’t even really like waiting.

I ordered a new slow cooker.  Now I have to wait for it to come.  Why does that take so long?  Well, it should only be a few days, but it sure seems like a long time.  It will be great when it is here, though.  And while I wait I can find new slow cooker recipes.

Because when it comes, I’ll get to cook with it.  And then wait some more because slow cookers cook food for hours until the food is ready.  But the slow-cooked food will be so good.  And while I wait, the kitchen will be filled with the wonderful aroma of hope – hope of a delicious dinner.

So today I’m thinking about waiting.  Some things just take so long.  And we have to wait.  Like waiting in line at the store.  Waiting for pizza to be delivered.  Waiting for God to answer prayers.  Waiting for injuries to heal.  Waiting for a doctor report.  Waiting for someone’s heart to change.  Waiting for a job.  Waiting for a paycheck.  Waiting for Christmas.  Waiting to meet someone special.  Waiting for marriage.  Waiting for a baby to be born.  Waiting for a busy time of life to be over.  Waiting to go on vacation.  Waiting for nail polish to dry.  Waiting for a child to tie their shoes.  Waiting for an airplane.  Waiting for the weekend.  Waiting.

Some things just take time.  And we have to wait.  But often the things that we wait for are worth the wait.  Which is why I ordered a slow cooker instead of just cooking everything in the microwave or oven or on the stove.  Yes, dinner from a slow cooker will be good.  And worth the wait.  So what do we do while we’re waiting?

There are several verses in the Bible about waiting.  Here are a couple from the Psalms:

When David was confident that God would deliver him from his enemies he wrote, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord,”  (Psalm 27:14 NIV).

I don’t know who wrote this, but whoever it was knew that God’s Word would never fail.  Here’s Psalm 130:5, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his words I put my hope.”

Isaiah knew that God was always good, even when we are in difficult times of waiting, and he encouraged God’s people to trust in Him and gain their strength from Him.  He wrote Isaiah 40:31, “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

So, even when it’s difficult to wait, we can be confident and strong because we know that God’s Word will never fail.  Whatever happens during and after the wait, God will be with us.  Actually, God is right here with us even while we wait.

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